Information about the equivalent carbon price introduced on 1 July 2012 for technicians, repairers,
mechanics and professionals handling and trading automotive air conditioning and refrigerant
Under the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Plan, synthetic greenhouse gases listed
under the Kyoto Protocol have an equivalent carbon price applied under the Ozone Protection and
Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989.
Gases covered include hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and any
equipment or products which contain these gases.
Opportunities for business
The equivalent carbon price for synthetic greenhouse gases provides an opportunity for the
industry to further promote correct installation and regular maintenance of equipment. Businesses
should also discuss maintenance programs with clients to help them understand how to better
manage their systems.
The equivalent carbon price creates a financial incentive to reduce emissions by encouraging
businesses and customers to:
 increase recycling of synthetic greenhouse gases
 improve servicing of existing equipment to reduce leakage of refrigerant gases
 switch to purpose-designed equipment using lower global warming potential (GWP)
refrigerants, only where this is appropriate and meets relevant safety standards and
legislative requirements
 use innovation to develop safe, low GWP refrigerants and suitably designed equipment for
those refrigerants.
How the equivalent carbon price affects the automotive
The most common refrigerant used in automotive air conditioners, hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)
R134a, has a GWP 1300 times greater than that of carbon dioxide.
An equivalent carbon price applies to the import of synthetic greenhouse gas refrigerants in bulk
form, and in all products containing these gases, including the refrigerant contained in airconditioning units in automobiles.
The equivalent carbon price per tonne of imported synthetic greenhouse gases is determined by
multiplying the carbon price of the GWP for each gas relative to carbon dioxide.
Replacing R134a
The equivalent carbon price does not restrict the use of any refrigerant or require the use of
alternatives. However, the global automotive industry has indicated that it intends to replace R134a
as its preferred air conditioning platform. This change has been driven by the European F-Gas
rules which specify that from 2011, new automotive platforms must use a refrigerant with a GWP
lower than 150.1
The only commercially available alternative that meets the European requirements is hydrofluoro-olefin
(HFO) R1234yf2, although some vehicle manufacturers are already developing carbon dioxide based air
Managing costs
Some or the entire equivalent carbon price may be passed on through the supply chain to
businesses dealing with products or services containing synthetic greenhouse gases and ultimately
to households. For most households the impact of the equivalent carbon price on synthetic
greenhouse gases will be very small, as the amount of these gases used in household appliances
and other products is generally quite low.
Each business will need to determine how the equivalent carbon price will be passed on to
consumers and other businesses dealing with products or services containing these gases.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has published a guide for businesses to
understand their rights and obligations when making claims about the impact of the carbon price. 3
Complying with legislation and regulations
If you are considering substituting an original gas with a low GWP alternative, check the relevant
state and territory legislation to ensure the use of the alternative gas is permitted and it is safe to
do so. This includes the manufacturers’ required standards.
Automotive refrigeration and air-conditioning businesses and technicians must continue to comply
with all legislative and regulatory requirements. This includes:
 possessing refrigerant handling licences and complying with refrigerant trading authorisation
 adhering to codes of practice, such as the Australian Automotive Code of Practice for the
Control of Refrigerant Gases during Manufacture, Installation, Servicing or Decommissioning
of Motor Vehicle Air Conditioners
 complying with workplace health and safety legislation.
More information
For more information about the equivalent carbon price for synthetic greenhouse gases, including
factsheets, licensing and an online price calculator, go to, email or phone the department on 1800 803 772.
For more information about the Clean Energy Future package, go to
Fact sheet:
Transitioning to Low Global Warming Potential Refrigerants